Ayurvedic Concepts

Introduction to Ayurveda

Ayurveda (Science of life) is the traditional concept of health and natural healing system of India and its cultural sphere. Its foundation comes from the Vedic Era, the primitive age around 5000 years ago. It is appropriate to say that it is the Mother of all Healing Systems. Ayurveda is one of the most comprehensive healing systems in the world, dealing integrally with body, mind and spirit. Ayurveda has classified the body system according to the theory of Tridosha to overcome all ailments by eliminating the basic cause.

The basic objective of Ayurveda is to educate people on how to take care of their health by themselves and increase their span of healthy life.One can achieve this goal by monitoring and balancing one’s nutritional diet and life style. Keeping good habits to heal and keep away the problems and inadequacy of body functioning this system is related to the soul, body & mind simultaneously. Imbalance due to emotional disturbance recognizes that the mind can create problems in the body.

To Understand the Ayurvedic System, the following fundamental sections must be understood in detail:
  • Five elements (Base of constitution of the universe).
  • Three doshas-their normal and abnormal stage.
  • Three types of doshas and their significance.
  • Problems caused by individual doshas.
  • Application of healing process as per symptoms of doshas.
  • Pathya-Apathya (Precaution and care of diet) (Foods to be taken – Foods to be avoided)
  • Three types of vitalities and their relation with the human being and the basis of their healing process. These are known as qualities of mind (Satva-Rajas-Tamas) and should be considered.
  • Six tastes-Sweet, salty, bitter, sour, pungent and astringent. These become the cause of different problems when aggravated.

Creation of Five Elements

A person found with sore accompanied with pus is an example of this imbalance. Rather than creating a name for a symptom, Ayurveda identifies the problem as an excess of the fire elements. Acid is a by-product of heat. Ayurveda will look to see in what part of the individual’s life overheating occurs. It may be due to eating excessive fiery foods and spices like tomatoes and peppers. One’s career may be causing undue anger (i.e. hot temper). Perhaps the person drinks alcohol (fire water).

Once the cause is learned, suggestions for reducing a person’s excessive intake of fire are discussed. Simultaneously, the patient is advised to use more of the air and water elements to balance the heat with coolness (air cools heat, water puts out the fire).

Thus, the holistic approach of Ayurveda seeks the cause of a problem and restores balance, using the insight of the elemental creation of the universe.

Description of the five Elements

  • Space-SKy-AKash(Ether): It is an omni present and all prevailing element, which serves as an abode (dominating or controlling) to all the other four elements and objects in the universe. It is due to space that one can separate or differentiate various objects and different parts of the objects. The same space exists in the body, which creates differentiation and division in the tissues of the body.
  • Air-Vayu: Air contains oxygen, which is a vital element for the existence of all living creatures. Wind is responsible for all the movement in nature. It is in the presence of oxygen in the air that fire can exhibit its action. Wind, in the form of a storm, can cause the destruction of trees, crops, houses etc. The same term as “Vata” applies to the body, which acts in the body as commanding all activitiesand functions for its betterment and its abnormalities. The knowledge of these facts, helps in the healing of a problem.
  • Energy-Agni (Heat) (Pitta): The sun and fire are the main sources of energy in nature. The sun maintains equitable environmental temperature and light. These properties of the sun are essential and vital for survival of life. The sun’s heat is the source for ripening of plants, vegetables, fruits as well human body cells. It also causes evaporation of water, forming clouds which supply the water to the earth, mountains, hills and streams etc. These elements of nature constitute the life of human beings. The same heat is known as Agni or “Pitta” in Ayurveda. It has the role of chemical changes in the body helping digestion, forming various secretions and enzymes.
  • Water-Apa (Kapha): Water is found in the atmosphere, the sea, lakes, rivers etc. Water is the basic element for sustaining life. It has the cooling effect in the environment. It also feeds the plants, crops etc. The same element in Ayurveda is Kapha. It constitutes the various cells of the body and provides strength as well as life to human beings.
  • Solid or Earth: This element itself is predominantly solid. It gives shelter and protection to human beings to work and move on the surface of earth. It is also a source of life and existence. The solid (Earth) maintains life and stability in the nature. The same element represents the development and stability of the body. All the solid elements in the body, such as the bones, teeth, etc. are of the Earth constitution. The Earth property is the base of the constitution of the body.


Parallel to the three qualities of mind in creation are the three doshas or constitutions in human body.
Vata, Pitta and Kapha are the three biological elements, which constitute the structural and fundamental units of all the living cells, tissues, organs and the body as a whole. The three doshas originate from five elements, i.e. the doshas are the basis of five elements.

Relation of the five elements with the three doshas:
  • Vata has relation with air.
  • Pitta has relation with Heat – Energy – Fire (Agni).
  • Kapha has the relation with liquid substances of nature i.e. Water (Earth)
  • Akash (Space) forms the space in the body and division in the various cells.
  • Earth forms the solid parts of the body.

Therefore, the doshas act in the body in accordance with the five elements that are the base of nature as well as Ayurvedic Theory of healing.
The functioning and existence of the body entirely depends on Vata, Pitta, Kapha. To the three elements of constitution i.e. air, water and heat, the Sanskrit names have been given according to their significance (properties) i.e. Vata, Pitta and Kapha.

The name themselves show their properties and foundation:

Details of Doshas

Vata:- Vata or air means movement in the universe. Vata is responsible for all the movements. Vata molecules are light, minute, clear, rough and dry. Vata is cold in nature and causes the problems related to cold. Because of its minute nature, it cannot be visualized in any form in the body but its presence can be proved by its actions. It is the electricity, setting the organism into motion, maintaining the equilibrium between Pitta and Kapha (inerts). It is the sole power to control all the movements of nerves, tissues, cells and systems.

Vata may be understood as nerve force, electro motor, physical activity or that which is responsible for motion. It controls the actions of the prefrontal lobe, motor cortex and spinal cord. It carries all the sensory impulses to their centers and also maintains the efficiency of the sense organs. Vata has five divisions or responsibilities in the body, which exist in the different parts of the body.

Pitta(Heat):- Pitta represents energy or heat (Calorie) in the body. Further, Pitta is the combination of energy (heat) and liquid. Heat is the active principle whereas liquid acts as a vehicle. Life on earth depends on energy derived from the Sun. Digestion entirely depends on Pitta (Agni). The process of digestion continues in the gastro-intestinal tract and in the tissues by means of various digestive and tissue enzymes (known as Pitta).

Kapha:- The Biological element of Kapha is derived from the two basic physical elements namely earth and water. Kapha molecules are heavy, stable, smooth, soft, viscous, shiny and moist, white in color and predominantly have a sweet and slightly salty taste. Kapha constitutes the main body mass and is responsible for the shape and form of the body. Kapha fills the intercellular spaces of the body as connective tissues including mucus, synovial fluids and tendons. All the cells, tissues and organs of the body are predominantly composed of Kapha elements.

The biological combination of solid and liquids in varying proportions is responsible for the varying structure and composition of various tissues like body fluids (Rasa), semen, blood, muscle, fat, bone marrow and brain.

The fluid component of Kapha is responsible for the maintenance and formation of body fluids. Because of its heavy and stable qualities, it is responsible for strength stability and firmness of body and mind. Because of its oily nature, it prevents friction between the two parts of the body. In muscles, it gives strength to the body. In fact, it gives shape (form) to it. In the semen, it is responsible for fertility. The brain and nerve tissues predominantly contain Kapha molecules. Kapha of inferior quality in the brain produces a stab of ignorance, delusion, laziness and jealousy.


Tastes have crucial significance in Ayurveda. According to Ayurvedic theory, there are six tastes existing in every food, plants, herbs, etc. and these play a vital role in human body:

  • Sweet (Madhus)
  • Sour (Amal)
  • Salty (Lawan)
  • Pungent ( Kattu)
  • Bitter (Tikt)
  • Astringent ( Kashaya)

These tastes have the direct relation with doshas. These tastes may either aggravate or pacify the doshas: Vata (air), Pitta (fire), Kapha (water).

For example:

  • Sweet (Madhu) :- Increases the Kapha and subsides the Vayu (Vata) and Pitta.
  • Sour (Amal) :- Increases the Pitta and subsides the Vayu (Vata) and Kapha.
  • Salty (Lawan) :- Increases the Pitta and Kapha and subsides the Vayu (Vata).
  • Pungent (Kattu) :- Increases the Pitta and subsides Kapha and Vayu (Vata).
  • Bitter (Tikta) :- Increases the Vayu (Vata) and subsides the Pitta and Kapha.
  • Astringent (Kashaya) :- Increases the Vayu (Vata) and subsides the Pitta and Kapha.
  • Sweet, sour, salty: Subsides the Vayu and increases the Kapha and Pitta.
  • Pungent, bitter, astringent: Subsides the Kapha and increases the Pitta and Vayu.
  • Astringent, bitter, sweet: Subsides the Pitta and increases the Kapha and Vayu.
  • Sweet, Sour, Salty :- Increase Kapha and Pitta, subsides the Vayu
  • Pungent, bitter, sweet :- Increase the Kapha and subsides the Pitta
  • Astringent, bitter, sweet :- Increase the Kapha and subsides the Pitta.

The six tastes have the relation with five elements also :

  • Sweet, Pungent, astringent :- (Relation with ) :- Water
  • Salty :- (Relation with ) :- Earth
  • Sour, salty :- (Relation with ) :- Fire (Heat)
  • Astringent, bitter :- (Relation with ) :- Vayu (Air)

Omni Present:Akash (ether).

Sweet taste is the most nourishing and as each taste becomes less nourishing, it becomes more bitter, until it is astringent – the least nourishing. That is why meals should be tasteful. In aggravated doshas, to maintain health, a little of each taste is prescribed in Ayurveda.